Preserving MI Harvest-Preserving Tomatoes and Salsa

February 21, 2024

More Info

Preserving tomatoes is a very popular topic for home canners. We'll share a variety of ways to preserve them to enjoy year round. Salsa is a great way to preserve your tomatoes and peppers. Join us to learn the science of preserving sweet and savory salsas!

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Video Transcript

All right, so this afternoon our MI Ag Ideas Ideas to Grow With Preserving MI Harvest Session is on preserving tomatoes and salsa. My name is Laurie Messing. I'm a food safety extension educator with MSU Extension. And I'm joined by my colleague, Kara Lynch, who will join us part way through the program and share information as well. Thank you for joining us today and we're glad to have you here with us. As you begin to think about preserving tomatoes still early, right? It's still February, but it is fun to start thinking about those warmer activities. For warmer weather, consider where you will get your tomatoes from. We are going to first talk about canning tomatoes specifically, and then we will talk about canning salsa. And we'll throw some freezing tomatoes information in as well. Maybe you'll have a garden overflowing with tomatoes. Or maybe a friend or family member always shares abundance with you. Or maybe you visit local produce farmers or farmers markets who sell bushels of tomatoes and different size options to purchase tomatoes, whatever your source for tomatoes might be. A few things we'd like to remind you of when selecting your tomatoes would be to start by considering the freshness of the tomato. If you're purchasing from a local producer, you can ask them about their process they used to grow. Paying attention to their irrigation sources and their fertilizer practices. Remember, there are no difference between green, yellow, or red tomatoes in regard to safely preserving them. Varieties of tomatoes. Choose the one that's right for your use in the product you're making. We'll touch on this a little bit more today. As we move through our session. You may see lots of varieties of tomatoes when you visit a farm market. Two that we wanted to point out to provide some clarification include heirloom tomatoes. You can treat these the same way as any canning tomatoes. They are a safe variety to can tomatoes. With tomatoes you don't have to remove their skin. However, the outer flaky layer or husk does need to be removed, acidify the way you would other tomatoes, despite them being more acidic. You may also have heard the phrase canning tomato. All tomatoes can be canned. However, grape and cherry are not ideal due to their smaller size and the challenge with removing their skins. Just follow instructions according to your research based recipe, being sure to acidify your tomatoes as instructed. Remember, canning will not increase the quality of any produce that you preserve. Select just ripe blemish free tomatoes that are firm to the touch, but not too soft. Select only disease free. Preferably vine ripened firm fruit for canning caution. Do not. Can tomatoes from dead or frost killed vines? Green tomatoes are more acidic then ripened fruit and can be canned safely. You just follow the same directions as you would for ripe tomatoes. I mentioned those tomatoes from dead or frost killed vines, tomatoes from those make the tomato less acidic. You cannot can them, but you could freeze them if you so choose. Blighted tomatoes should also not be canned since it can raise the ph enough making them less acidic to allow bacteria to grow. Notice the photo with the one bad tomato remove. Produce like this from your items to preserve. Only preserve, again, really high quality produce. When we can, we do have a couple options in. They're called raw pack versus hot pack for how you put the product into your canning jars. Raw pack is used for foods that lose shape when cooked. You place the raw food just like it sounds directly into the jar, and then you pour hot, boiling liquid over top of that food. Pack them firmly without crushing. And then you would add your jars to your canner after preparing the jars the rest of the way. Now with hot pack, it is a preferred method for most foods. With hot pack, you cook the food first in liquid, before packing, and then you pour that cooking liquid over the food in the jar. With hot pack, there's less floating of food pieces in your jar. There can be a better color and flavor. They can be easier to pack because the foods are more pliable. The heat kills some microorganisms when you are preparing. Now, an important point to remember with raw pack versus hot pack is that you always need to follow your research base recipe. If directions say hot pack, only you must hot pack, you don't have a choice. But sometimes the recipe might say directions for hot pack and directions for raw pack. In that case, you can choose the method that you prefer. Now we're going to move into talking about acidification with tomatoes. We're going to watch a short video clip and we'll explain that a little bit more. Home canned tomatoes are a favorite for many Tomatoes are very versatile and can be preserved in a variety of ways. When considering canning tomatoes, a research based recipe should be used to ensure a safe home canned product. Home canned whole crushed or juiced tomatoes must be acidified. Tomatoes are acidified to prevent botulism poisoning and other bacterial concerns. The bacteria that cause botulism poisoning can grow and produce toxins and sealed jars. If the ph is above 4.6 it's quite simple to acidify your whole prostate juice, tomatoes for canning by either using bottled lemon juice or citric acid. When using bottled lemon juice, add two tablespoons to a quart and one tablespoon to a pint. When using citric acid, add a two, a teaspoon citric acid to a quart and a four teaspoon to a pint. Follow by processing jars of acidified prepared tomatoes according to the recipe, if the acid taste is noticeable, add sugar to the prepared food if desired. All right, so acidification, hopefully you were aware that we need to acidify our whole crushed or juiced tomatoes on home canning. But if not, that video did a nice job giving you a snippet of information. To acidify, you add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice, or a two teaspoon of citric acid per quart. For pints, you would use one tablespoon of bottled lemon juice and four teaspoon of citric acid. The acid can be added directly to the jars before you fill the jars with your tomato product, or they can be added after. But again, you have to make sure you remember to add it. That's why we usually recommend to put it in first so you can see it in the jars. If you do feel that after using the product later in the year after it's been canned, that it tastes too acidic, you can add sugar to that food product when you're preparing the dish. If you're using that tomato product for goulash or for chili, you could add some sugar to offset the taste. Four tablespoons of a 5% acidic vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid. However, vinegar can cause some very undesirable flavor changes If you use season packets that you can purchase at retailers or online, such as a Mrs. wages or a ball, the acid is typically already added. Refer to your recipe on that package for further directions. The risk of not acidifying tomatoes may result in clusterviumbachulinum, which is a potentially deadly toxin that can exist in home canned goods. Really important to do and we often find many people who aren't aware of the recommendation to acidify. We will share some resources with you also after the session that will give you some of this information as well. Never open kettle canner tomatoes. You can see on the screen what is open kettle canning? It's heating the tomatoes so they're hot. Then adding them to a canning jar. And then putting on a lid and not processing in a water bath, atmospheric steam or pressure canner. Um, we get many questions about open kettle canning. And yes, the jars might seal from that heat, but not processing that tomato product is very dangerous and can, again, lead to potential for food borne illness. We need to process those jars of tomatoes in a water bath or an atmospheric steam canner. The safe ways to can your tomatoes. As I mentioned, water bath canners. Atmospheric steam canners, or pressure canners, can be used for tomatoes as well. With your water bath or atmospheric steam canner, you can process whole tomatoes or crushed tomato juice, non meat spaghetti sauces, ketchups, salsas, and other products as well. With your pressure canner, you can can any of the ones we just mentioned. Plus you could can a meat spaghetti sauce as well. Think about, again, the type of tomato product you're hoping to can, that will help lead you down the path to what type of method you can use to safely do it. One point to remember though is if a procedure from the USDA's Complete Guide to Home Canning, one of our research based recipes offers both water bath and pressure canning options. All steps in the preparation are still required, even if you pressure can. This includes acidification. Each process used requires acidification. Whether you're water bath canning, atmospheric steam canning, or pressure canning those whole crust and juiced tomatoes all have to be acidified. For each one, there are two bath can, there's two canners that could be used for canning high acid foods like acidified tomatoes and salsas. The water bath canner on the left and the atmospheric steam canner on the right. We'll take a look at each of these as we move ahead in the session. Keep in mind that even though they can both be used for canning high acid foods, there are some differences between the canners. For example, the water bath canner uses a lot more water than your steam canner does. Water bath canning is safe for processing times longer than 45 minutes, whereas your atmospheric steam canner can only be used for research based recipes with a processing time less than 45 minutes. The steam canner is much lighter, doesn't use as much water. Again, there are some pros and cons to each. It really depends on what you prefer or what you have. I only have a water bath canner. I like it just fine, But some of my colleagues do have an atmospheric steam canner and they really enjoy using that as well. Now, some tomato recipes do give options for pressure canning, but we're going to focus on just the and atmospheric steam canning for this presentation. But we will share some resources for pressure canning as well. We do have a session tomorrow on pressure canning meat and beans, so you can see how those pressure canners work. If you're interested to preserved crushed tomatoes. We're going to start with the freshest, high quality tomatoes that you either picked from your garden or you got from a local market. We always start by removing tomato skins. To do this, it's really very simple. You simply score the bottom of the tomato, put an X on the bottom, and then you dip them into boiling hot water for 30 to 60 seconds. After that, you pull them out and put them right into ice water for about 60 seconds as well. And you'll notice that the skins really just easily peel right off. They split and they peel after hitting that cold water. Remove the skins, remove the tomato cores, Trim off any bruised or discolored portions, and then quarter your tomatoes. Next, you're going to heat about one sixth of those tomato quarters in a large pot. Then they will start to exude juice, stir the tomatoes to prevent boiling. Then once they're boiling, gradually add the rest of the remaining tomatoes that have been quartered. Stirring constantly, these remaining tomatoes do not need to be crushed. They will soften with heating and stirring and then continue until all the tomatoes have been added. Then you'll want to just gently boil for about 5 minutes. Now we're going to do our acidification. We're going to put bottled lemon juice or citric acid to our pint jars that we are processing here. We chose to put the lemon juice in first, so we could remember and see it in each jar, so we didn't forget. You do have the option to add salt. That is an optional ingredient. You'll find with many canning recipes that salt is optional. Unless you're pickling, then salt is required. But if you so choose, you could add a teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars. Two, a teaspoon to pints. Then you would fill your jars immediately with those hot tomatoes, leaving a half inch head space. And then adjust your lids and process according to your research based recipe. In that third picture there, you'll see we're measuring head space with our head space and measure. Then we are wiping the jar rims with a damp towel, paper towel, to ensure there's nothing that will come in between the jar rim and that ceiling compound underneath your jar lid. For this example, we'll show you using an atmospheric steam canner to process these pints of tomatoes. We would fill the steam canner with about 2.2 quarts of water, or as instructed in your instruction manual, preheat the water to about 140 degrees for raw pack or 180 degrees for hot pack. And then place your filled jars on the caning rack. Place the steam canner lid on the pot. The vent hole is toward the back so you can reach it. And then make sure you can easily read the altitude indicator knob as well, and then turn the burner on high. Next, check the temperature through the vent hole with a bimetallic stem thermometer. You need to reach 212 degrees during the processing. Then the canner prior to starting the processing time until a full column of steam appears. And then once that steam continuously produces a full column of steam, you start your timing. A six to eight inch column of steam should be venting from the holes in the side of the canner. During that entire process. Jars must be processed in pure steam at 212 degrees. You have to monitor that as well. And then you'll monitor the altitude indicator knob to make sure it's in the right range for your altitude. Recommended processing times in an atmospheric steam canner for these pints would be 35 minutes and quartz would be 45 minutes. That's the maximum that you could do in that atmospheric steam canner, is that 45 minute time period? We will show you a video in a minute on how the water bath process works as well because that is really very simple too. Let's take a look at a couple short videos that we had produced last year showing you how to safely fill your jars and measure head space and get your jars ready for canning. Start by washing your jars in hot, soapy water. And always check for chips and cracks before using your jars. And rings can be re, used if they are in good condition. Standard lids are intended for a one time use when preserving foods. Remember, jams, jellies, and pickled products processed less than 10 minutes should be filled into canning jars that have been sterilized. These jars have been sterilized in boiling water for 10 minutes. Always use the correct size jar that the recipe calls for. You can always go smaller, but you can never go larger. To prevent breakage, keep your jars in hot water until they are ready to be filled. Remove the jars from the hot water one at a time. Tilt thumb to empty the water out of the jars, making sure they are completely drained. Quickly, fill the hot jars with the hot product. Using a wide mouth, funnel and ladle will help keep the edge of the jars clean. When filling the jars, be sure to leave the proper amount of headspace. One thing I want to point out there is that they mentioned the sterilization of the jars. That usually is only for jams and jellies that require less than 10 minutes of a processing time. We didn't talk about that step with tomatoes because they are processed for longer. Let's take a peek at another one here on how to properly our jars and get them ready to put into our canners. Sorry. The rings on your jars play an important part in the sealing of your jars. Their purpose is to hold the lid in place during processing. If your rings are too loose, the liquid may escape from the jars during processing, and the jars may not seal. If the rings are too tight, the air cannot bend while it's processing, and your product may discolor. If you're using a pressure canner, your lids may also buckle and the jars may break. Tighten the ring's fingertip tight? Stop turning the ring once you feel resistance. The rings may appear loose after processing. Do not retighten. Once jars are cooled and ready for storage, these rings may be removed. We use the phrase fingertip tight when we talk about putting those rings on after our jar lids. Just a good reminder that we don't have to use any superhuman strength to try and put those on as tightly as possible. Just turn them fingertip tight. Now that we've used a research based recipe, we've gotten our jars of a tomato product, that crushed tomato recipe, let's say we talked about how to do it to process in an atmospheric steam canner. Let's take a look at how to use your water bath canner, which is a really simple device to use. It works great for all of these high acid foods, including tomatoes that are acidified, and salsa. Let's take a peek at this and you can get up to speed. I'm using your water bath canner. Let me set the Ron arrow there, not that arrow. Using a water bath canner to preserve high acid foods like fruits, pickled products, acidified tomatoes and jams and jellies is a simple process. Start by filling the canner half full of water and put the lid on the canner. Preheat the water to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for raw pack and 180 degrees Fahrenheit for hot pack foods. Once the water is hot, remove the lid and carefully place filled jars onto the canner rack. A rack is necessary to keep the jars off the bottom of the canner and prevent breakage. After jars are placed on the rack, lower the rack down into the canner. There must be one to 2 " of water above jars for proper water circulation during canning. If not add more water, then place the lid on the canner. Processing begins when the water comes back to a full rolling boil. Set your timer according to the research based recipe. When the timer goes off, processing is done. So turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and wait 5 minutes to allow for cooling. Next, lift the rack out of the water and remove jars using a jar lifter. Being careful not to tip them, the water on the lids will evaporate. Place the jars on a towel, cutting board, or rack to cool after 12 to 24 hours. Once jars have sealed, label each jar with the date and name of the product. If a jar did not seal, you have the option to reprocess using the same processing time, freeze or place in the refrigerator and consume to store your jars of canned food. Remove the ring place in a dry dark area and use within one year. All right. Again, using either the atmospheric steam canner or your water bath canner are pretty easy processes. So it's a great method for home canning to start with, especially if maybe you are newer or if you haven't canned in a while. But a great way to start out with some home canning of tomatoes. Let's take a look at another example for home canning, tomato sauce. This process is very similar to the crushed tomato. As far as starting out, we would wash our tomatoes, core them the place them in a large pot, and cook them till soft. Now, with this method, you don't have to skin the tomatoes like we did in the first example, because we're going to do something different here to skin our tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are soft, you can run them through a food mill or an electric food strainer, And that will separate all of the skin and seeds from the tomato pulp. You can see how this example shows an electric food strainer being used. That fourth picture in the middle there shows all of the skin and pulp, skin and seeds that we got. The third picture shows food mill. You can grind it and use your hand there to twist the handle. That food mill will do the same thing. It'll squeeze out all of the tomato pulp and all of the skin and seeds will be left. The tomato sauce that you end up with there is returned to a stockpot. And let's cook down to thicken before we put it into our heated jars. With this tomato sauce recipe, you have the option of leaving it as a plain tomato sauce. Or you can add dried spices, not fresh dried. Fresh herbs and spices will impact the ph level and make that sauce unsafe. Only dried spices can be used. You could do an Italian type of spice seasoning, Mexican, or a cajun. There's a few different options and we'll share those resources with you as well with the tomato sauce. After it's reduced and thickened, we would fill our jars again. We would acidify that product with lemon juice or citric acid. Add salt if desired. And then we'd fill the jars, measure head space, wipe the jar rims. We would put that canning lid on and then use our fingertip tight method for putting the screw band on. And then in this example, we can water bath this sauce for 35 minutes in our water bath canner. This is a recipe from the Ball blue book, which we'll share as one of our recommended resources as well. Like I said, there are a couple seasoning options for these tomatoes with different spices, with dried spices, and we'll share those with you, that cajun spice blend, Italian spice blend, and Mexican spice blend. Or you can leave them plain and you can add your spices after opening the jar. After opening the jar, you could add fresh herbs as well as the dried. But for canning, we can only use the dried spices. Like we said, there are many recipes for canning tomatoes, from making spaghetti sauce to barbecue sauce. We have just a few examples on the screen for you. The resources we will share have many options for canning tomatoes. As long as you're using the appropriate method and a research based recipe, you're good to go looking for something to do with all of your grape tomatoes. There is a recipe in the ball blue book to do some pickling of those grape tomatoes. This is something one of my colleagues did a couple of years ago. Something different as a way to use up some of those grape tomatoes. If you like pickled products, this might be for you. This recipe involves placing grape tomatoes in a jar with garlic and rosemary and then a vinegar mixture to acidifie. Then you could process in your water bath canner or your atmospheric steam canner. It does use a 5% acidity vinegar, which is recommended for pickling. Again, just another option for you to think about as we think about summer gardens and preserving tomatoes. All right. So I'm going to turn over to Kara Lynch next, who will take us through a few more ways we can preserve tomatoes and get us into salsa. Thanks, Laurie. I am Kara Lynch. I'm based in Isabella County, right in central Michigan. Welcome to our food preservation class on tomatoes and salsa. If you are not a canner or maybe you'd like to be, but you really can't fit canning into your schedule. Freezing tomatoes is a really great way to preserve them and enjoy them throughout the year. You can leave tomatoes whole or you can chop them, which is usually what I like to do. You can also freeze them with the skin on or off. The skin often will easily be removed or during your cooking process. But I do prefer, personally, to take it off before I freeze them, just so I don't have to mess with it. I feel like when I pull things out of my freezer, I want to do as little prep as possible, but you can leave the skins on. It's a really great way and you get that fresh tomato taste without the canning process. Now, the tomatoes must be cooked when you go to use them. It's not something you can thaw and use just fresh on a sandwich or something like that. Or in a salad the texture will be very mushy. But again, it's a great way to preserve that fresh tomato flavor. Just wanted to go over some basic steps if you did want to freeze tomatoes. First of all, you want to make sure that you are selecting firm, ripe tomatoes with a deep red color, good quality going in equals good quality coming out. You don't want to look at your tomatoes that are about ready to be tossed and use those at that time for preserving. Just as a little reminder, just try to get something that's very fresh and at its peak quality. So when you're freezing raw tomatoes, you need to start by rinsing them. Then, Laurie talked about removing the skin from a tomato by scaling the bottom of it, or scoring terminology, Put the X in the bottom of it, dip it into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Take them out of the boiling water, put them in ice water, so they cool off quickly so you can handle them. That skin typically will come right off. It's a really quick process. Again, the reason I like it is because my tomatoes are then ready when I go to use them, then you're going to core them. Ideally, you can take the core out and you can freeze them again, whole or in pieces, and then pack into containers. You do want to leave about an inch head space. And we'll talk about containers in another slide here, different options to use. But when you're using a hard container, you do want to leave some head space so they have room for expansion use only for cooking. Again, they're not good for using fresh or just straight from the thawed state, but put them into a cooked dish. Another option is to actually freeze tomato juice. Maybe you've taken the time to create your tomato juice, but you don't have time to, can it. This is also an option for doing that. Again, in your tomatoes. Sort through them and trim them for tomato juice. Then you want to cut into quarters or smaller. Then similar those for about five to 10 minutes. Now, you don't have to remove the skin like we talked about if you opted to do that with whole tomatoes, because when you push this through a severe food mill, you're going to be removing the skin at that time. Now, if you do desire to season that with a teaspoon of salt per quart, do you have the option of doing that? Or maybe you are wanting to be a little bit healthier and leave the salt out? We did have a question in case you didn't see that in the chat. Somebody asked it for canning tomatoes if you did have to have salt, if it helps with the preserving process. In the only time salt is really imperative to use in canned items or really even frozen items is infermented products, it's critical to have the right amount of salt, otherwise, salt is really used mainly as a seasoning. That's an optional ingredient for you. If you want to freeze stewed tomatoes, remove the stem ends, peel and quarter ripe tomatoes, cover and cook until the tomatoes are tender. Now that's going to take around ten to 20 minutes, then put them in cold water to cool pack into containers. We're going to talk about the containers on the next slide and put in the freezer, you have some options for containers. You can use the freezer bags, make sure they are freezer bags and that just a storage bag. There's definitely a difference in quality or thickness in those bags and you will have less freezer burn by using what you need to, which is the freezer bags. Or you can use some food grade freezer containers. The one in the top right picture is a classic example of one. We use food preservation and in food storage, so they are great to use in the freezer. Can you use glass can? You could use canning jar. But one thing with using canning jars is you want to have one that is straight up and down. It doesn't have what we call the neck and shoulders. Like the smaller size opening. Well, it's not always even determined by that shoulders or narrowing at the top. You want to be straight sided, just prevents the expansion and potential breakage the plastic bags again or plastic containers. Make sure you label it and date it as well. Put what it is if it's stewed tomatoes on it. As another option, you can dehydrate or dry tomatoes if you have an abundance of grape tomatoes. Drying them makes a great snack or even any other tomato works well also. You can start by steaming or dipping the tomatoes in boiling water. This does loosen the skins, then cool, peel and cut into sections about 34 of an inch wide, or you can slice. Now for grape tomatoes, I would slice them in half. Then the drying time, if you're using a dehydrator is about ten to 18 hours. If you do slice thinner than that 34 of an inch that I mentioned, that drying time will be less depending on what you're using them for. You can determine how thick or thin to slice them. Sun drying in Michigan is really not recommended. Some of you may have heard about sun drying and that's where people actually put it out aside and use that sun as the drying agent. Also, microwave or air drying is not an option in Michigan either. Now, when you go to consume the dehydrated tomatoes, you can rehydrate them. But honestly, tomatoes are best in their dehydrated state and use them in soups or stews. You can put them in a savory trail, mix pasta dishes, or my favorite way to have dehydrated tomatoes is in dips. Also, you could leave the skin skin on and then just slice them on a mandolin, making like tomato slices. These are great for snacks. Put them on a wheat cracker with cream cheese for example. It's a really very flavorful snap we wanted to wrap up talking about salsa. We get a lot of questions and comments from people. We really want to make sure we get the word out about the rules of salsa. It's really important when you're using salsa, especially in particular, that you're using a current research tested recipe and follow those instructions for making and canning salsa. There's a lot of recipes that we have access to that are not tested and that may not be safe if you're canning them, we will be sharing a document with you that's called the Rules of Selsa. After class is over, we have some recipes on there, but the resources for finding more as well. Some tips for choosing and preparing your tomatoes. First up, Roma tomatoes, or also known as a paste tomato, are usually ideal for salsa just because they're a bit firmer, have thicker flesh, and produce less watery salsa, which is usually preferred by most people. You don't have to use Roma, but that's why they're preferred. You'll want to use a high quality, disease free, fine, ripened, firm, tomato, poor quality, or over ripe tomatoes can produce the thin, watery salsa which also can spoil faster. Please make sure your quality of tomatoes is excellent, then also don't drain or squeeze the tomatoes to remove excess liquid or juice draining off some of that liquid or the juice can remove some of the acid that is required to make your home canned salsa safe. We are going to touch base and fresh and frozen salsa, but right now we're talking about canned salsa. Okay. Now one critical ingredient in salsa is peppers. What's important to know about peppers is that you must use exactly the amount of peppers that the recipe calls for. The reason is if we're using more peppers, that's what it calls for. You could end up with a product that has two neutral of acid levels or an unsafe acidity level. But you do have some flexibility with the peppers as far as you can choose the variety of peppers that you want. Maybe you like a more mild salsa, you can select more mild pepper. Or if you like something that's a little bit hotter, you can certainly go to a higher heat pepper. We're going to talk more about the differences there. You can use the same volume of pepper, just get a hotter pepper. Another example is you can substitute a cup of green peppers for a cup of jalapenos. But what you can't do is substitute six green peppers for six jalapenos. Obviously, a green pepper, a sweet green pepper, is much bigger than a jalapeno pepper. You'd be using a much larger volume of a low acid food. One of the recipes that we are going to be sharing with you in the rules of salsa Fact sheet is called a choice salsa recipe. It talks more about some of the variations that you have control over in that recipe. Okay, so just a little bit more on peppers. We want to talk about the heat of peppers. I'm curious how many of you like really hot salsa, or do you prefer maybe more mild salsa if you want? Go ahead and share that information in the chat. I'd like in a little above the middle of the range. Personally, a mild to moderate, a little bit below, maybe the middle of the range. Well, while you're thinking about that and putting that in the chat, I just wanted to talk a little bit about the Scoville unit. This is a measurement of heat for the peppers. It was created in the early 1900s by a gentleman named Wilbur L. Scoville. He actually designed to test to determine the relative hotness of different peppers. Psacinnpsacin is created from a known weight of the pepper. It was extracted with alcohol and mixed to various concentrations with sweetened water. It was actually determined that the heat of it was determined by humans to determine the point at which the water was neutralized by that hotness. According to these testers, they gave a rating, what they called Scoville units, based on the volume of water that was required to neutralize the hotness. In the 1980s, this technique was replaced by a high pressure liquid test that measures the amount of capsasin more accurately. But the name Scoville Heat Units has stuck. It's still called that. It's just a little bit more of an objective way of measuring that. Peer Cassin is 15 million. The pepper spray is a range 2000000-5 million heat units. You can see where some of your peppers might lie and where you think you want to, what you might want to use to get your level of hotness. We have a super hot, spicy one husband likes it one way and another she likes it another mildly hot. Again, you have some flexibility with the type of pepper you can use to create those different levels of heat. The hotness of the pepper is dependent really on the amount of that level, it not on the level of acidity. All peppers are classified as a low acid food. Their ph ranges on that ph scale from 4.8 to 6.0 which is definitely in the lower acid T range. It's important to follow a research tested recipe carefully because peppers preserved improperly at home have led to some cases of batulism. Then the last comment I have is how important it is to wear plastic rubber gloves when handling or cutting the hot peppers. Otherwise, you can get that in your hands and it can take a while to wear off. And if you go to touch your eye or something or cut, you can really feel the heat in that way. Another area where you do have some control over is using dried spices. Sometimes we'll get questions about using fresh herbs, for example, in fresh herbs, because they are considered the low acid level of the ph scale, we don't have free rein over how much fresh spices we put in there, but dried spices, actually U, they've determined that that hasn't really affected the ph. When we add that to our salsa recipe, you can adjust any dry herbs and spices you want for flavor. That's really the only safe ingredient that you can change. In a tested recipe, you can add or decrease it. All right. So if you do want some additional fresh herbs, I love cilantro. Actually, some coworkers gave me for my birthday a year ago, a bouquet of silantro for my birthday. It's become a joke, and that's something I would love to always have in my salsa. If you wanted additional cilantro, then what the recipe calls for, option for including it, is to add it prior to eating it. Maybe you add more prior to canning it, but prior to eating it, you can do the same with other vegetables like corn or black beans. Most tested recipes, you're not going to find that added to the recipe. If you want that, just add some prior to serving it. Experimenting can be done with fresh or frozen salsa, which I'm going to talk about. But again, we are specifically talking about canned salsa. As far as that rule applying the same with thickeners. Thickeners are another thing. People like their salts. They don't want watery. Also they want it, if you feel like you wanted to thicken it, add extra tomato paste or something like a cornstarch mixture to thicken it up. You can only do that before you serve it. Add it to your canned item. Let's see. One of the recipes on the fact sheet that we are going to be sharing with you does use a tomato paste. It can be included in some recipes. But again, remember, these have all been research tested and it's determined the amount that's in there is safe. And the processing headlines R for the amount that's in there. Okay. Okay. One of the recipes on the salsa one oh one fact sheet is called a choice salsa recipe. You do have some freedom with that choice salsa to choose the onion and pepper variety as long as you're meeting that measurement requirement. Again, the measurement requirement is important so that you have the right proportions of high acid and low acid ingredients, chopped tomatoes and iced peppers and onions. It's important that they're measured in dry measuring cups that you're not eyeballing it or just throwing things in, but actually use those dry measuring cups then lemon or lime juice, even sometimes vinegar is used. Those are the acid ingredients that are added to some of our salsa recipes. In this Roy salsa recipe, it's either lemon or lime juice. And you can use a liquid measuring cup as well to make sure that you've got the correct amount. This picture is just an abbreviated viewing of the whole process for that choice. Salsa recipe. Lori did go over some of the basic steps for canning. You do want to always start with clean jars that have been cleaned in hot, soapy water, then you do want to keep them hot. That was another question in the chat box. To heat your jars up so that when you add this hot, hot salsa that you have been cooking to your canning jars prior to putting them in your water bath canner, you don't want to have some of that shock to the jars with the cold and hot together. So you want to have your jars heated up. Now again, measuring all your ingredients is really important. This canning is a science, and everything does need to be measured to make sure it's safe. All ingredients are combined in this large pot, and lemon juice was added to the jars. That is what's recommended for this recipe. It was brought to a boil over medium heat. The simmered for 3 minutes. Then you fill those hot jars with salsa, and the head space amount was just a half an inch. Then we do burp or remove those air bubbles like in that third picture. A plastic for knife was used to do that. That is an acceptable alternate. If you don't have your own air bubble remover, then we always want to make sure we wipe our ribs with a dampened, clean paper towel. Put your lid and then your ring bands on. And adjust them to fingertip tight. Then we put them into the water bath canner and process them for this choice, also recipe, they needed to be processed for 15 minutes. The end of 15 minutes, remove the lid, let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then remove the jars by pulling them straight up and out of the water. Don't tip them to get that water off the lid. That will evaporate very quickly. Then just cool or the hot jars on layer of dish towels or even a wooden cutting board, something that's not cool when it needs contact with it. And then let them sit for 12 to 24 hours to make sure they have sealed properly. Okay, Just to comment on fresh salsa. Fresh salsa is something that you have complete control. Whatever you want to add together, if you want more peppers, if you want pineapple, if you want your beans or corn or something like that, you have the ability to mix it up together and serve it. You can also thicken the salsa with a tomato paste. Or you can again, add more silent if you want. You can also add salt and pepper to your taste and enjoy it. You can store it in the refrigerator for three to four days. Then freezing salsa is also another option. If you wanted to experiment with a recipe of your own or one that's not research tested, maybe that you got from the Internet. They're tempting sometimes, sometimes they look so good. That's an option. Now again, when you are using these glass jars, here's a picture. I forgot that was there. But it does show that that's straight sided, It doesn't have that shoulder that some of the jars have. Make sure you also leave a half inch head space, just as if you were freezing the tomatoes that we talked about, just to allow for that expansion. You can also put your jars inside a cardboard box or another shatterproof container before putting them in the freezer, and that will prevent other items from knocking into them. If you're using glass jars, then don't expose your frozen jars to sudden heat. Just allow them to defrost gently in the refrigerator. Or you could even use the microwave if needed on a low setting. Okay, last thing is we do have some resources we will be sharing with you many of our Michigan. You'll see that Michigan Fresh logo on all of these documents here do describe how to safely store or use and then also preserve Michigan grown produce. We have a lot of sheets on all of our Michigan produce. We'll have that link sent to you so that you can download those and print them. These are some other resources. We have USDA's Guide to Home Canning that is downloadable print printable if you choose to print it, that is accessible through the University of Georgia Extensions website, which also publishes the book, so easy to preserve. Then this is their latest edition is hot off the press. A 38th edition of their Ball blue book, and then the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, which is also again housed in the University of Georgia as managed by them and it's a great resource. Okay, I know we're almost done here. I just wanted to encourage you to follow us on our Facebook page, which is called Think Food Safety. If you don't already, we share a lot of food safety information. Food recalls, cottage food in information lots and lots of information on preserving food throughout the summer months. And all of our online classes that are almost all free, we do share on a regular basis, on a weekly basis, really on our Facebook page and with the link to register for those classes. Our team operates a food safety hot line. The number is there on your screen. We get a lot of food preservation questions on our hotline and that's what that resource is for, those types of questions or other food safety related questions. Then we have Ask extension. That's an online format where you can submit questions online and we'll answer you via e mail. All right. This is our weekly food preservation with a list of some of the upcoming classes including tomorrow's, which is syrups and sauces. Do they are free? You just have to register for them so you can get the zoom link and then join. Each class is offered at 01:00 and 06:00 on Thursdays.